Blind Loyalty: Liberia’s Democracy at Risk
By Hun-Bu Tulay
Selecting the title of this feature was a challenge. I hope the title selected (BLIND LOYALTY) adequately represents what you will be reading. Many of you may have read some of the online versions of my features via liberianexpressonline, newspublictrustonline, dailyobserveronline, newdrewnewspaperonline, etc. These features are “Enemies of State” parts one and two, “Critical Analysis of President Weah’s Nationwide Tour”, “Liberia’s Greatest President”, “My Heart Bleeds for My Country”, “Liberia Might Face Constitutional Crisis (the case of Samukai)”. Others include “The Greatest Black Man over the past 200 Years”, “Why Many Countries in Africa are Underdeveloped”, “Is Cummings Sinking After Finding the Smoking Gun”, “The Man of Vision”, “200 Years of Deception and jabbing Colossal”, “CELEBRATION OF 172 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE WITH FIVE PRESIDENTS ARRIVING” and “Poverty in a Wealthy Nation”. Many of you have often said to me that the features are great and educational, but most Liberians do not read and for those who read them, 75% of them do not comprehend them. I am told that my features are historical, and that the readers buy them for their children and grandchildren to read in the future to understand Liberia better. I in turn have often told them that I write for future generations in the same manner as Dr. Edward Wimot Blyden and Edward James Roye.
Dr. Blyden advocated for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to be one country. All his life, he wrote about the United States of Africa. Dr. Nkrumah and other like minds like Blyden advocated for the formation of the Organization of African Unity which was eventually established in 1963 approximately 51 after his demise and 68 years after Dr. Blyden first spoke about it. He is often referred to today as the Great Grandfather of Pan Africanism. Today we have the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union. These were dreams of Dr. Blyden. President Roye dreamed of the establishment of a Central Bank in Liberia in 1870. This did not happen until 1973, one hundred three years later. So, my features may not be for my generation, but for future generations who will implement some of the things I am writing about if they want a better and peaceful Liberia.
This feature will be simple and direct. I will ask you to read it more than twice to be able to comprehend and appreciate it. It is about you and the things you are doing to slow down the development of the country and negatively impact the country within the world community. This country has great potential and opportunities, but, in the words of Former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, “we squandered opportunities and are “squandering opportunities”. When the former Vice President said we have squandered opportunities, many Liberians interpreted this as the Sirleaf’s Administration squandered opportunities. I am not in his mind, but I have read Liberian history and I am familiar with opportunities that were squandered by past administrations before Sirleaf’s. Do you know that Liberia lost 40% of its original territorial land because past administrations did not take advantage of the opportunity given by the King of the Mandingo Federation with capital in Maseudu? Read Benjamin J. K. Anderson’s narratives of his visits to Maseudu, the first in 1869 and two other trips after the first. Do you know the opportunities that were available under Tubman’s Administration, when the GDP of Liberia was much higher than that of Singapore? See where Singapore is today. Do you know the opportunities Liberia had under the Samuel K. Doe ‘s Administration? During Doe’s Administration, the Doe Administration received the highest United States foreign aid ever in the country’s history. Yes, we Liberians have squandered opportunities in the past and we still do because of Blind Loyalty.
Blind Loyalty is being loyal to a person or a cause even when that person misbehaves or does something dishonest. For those who believe in Blind Loyalty, allegiance is more important than objectivity. They believe in keeping a positive image of the person, or the cause of that person is more important than truth. These people are often classed blind loyalists.
Blind Royalty or Situational Ethics lead to cultism. Social groups, political parties, religious groups can all become cult organizations. In such organizations, the leader becomes supreme, and everyone follows what he or she says. Examples of political parties that were cults are the Nazi in Germany, you may have read or heard about the six million Jews that were prosecuted and murdered because Adolf Hitler said the Jews were the enemy of the Germans. Even today in the United States, the Republican Party has become a cult party. Almost 95% of Republicans in Congress do what Donald Trump asks them to do. You all may have read or are following the January 6 investigation.
A religious group that became a cult was People’s Temple founded by Jim Jones. Jones told his followers the world was coming to an end and those who would drink the flavor kool aids he prepared and died would go to Heaven. More than 909 followers drank the flavor kool aids mixed with cyanide and they all died. This became known as the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana.
A social group that became a cult was the Manson Family. Charles Manson was a musician and organized the Manson Family. He told his followers that there would be war between the Whites and the Blacks in America. And that the Blacks would win the war. Those Whites that would follow him to the Dead Valley would be the only White Survivals. At the end of the war, the Blacks would turn governance to the Survival Whites. Because it took a long time for the war to start, he asked his followers to go to Bailley Hill and massacre some Whites hoping that the Whites would turn against the Blacks. Read Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi.
In cult organizations, be it political, social, religious, etc., the leaders do not have to ask for revenge against or punishment of their preceded enemies or those who differed with the leaders. Often acts of violence and intimidation or death would be carried out against the preceded enemies or those who deferred with the leaders to get a favor from the cult leaders without the leaders’ direct order. This puts the preceded enemies or those who differed with the cult leaders at risk. Those Blind Royalists of the cult organizations assassinate, if lucky, intimidate the preceded enemies or those who differed with the leaders or anyone, who says anything they believe is negative against the leaders, no matter how objective said statement might be. So, most of those who go on talk shows and radio stations insulting and saying negative things about other political leaders, are rewarded by these cultic political leaders.
Some of the political parties in the country are becoming cults and this is dangerous for the country. When people say, ‘you killed my pa. you killed my ma, I will vote for you’ or ‘’you know book, you do not know book, I will vote you’ or a Central Bank Governor says, “I will lay aside the Act that created the Bank and do what the President says”, these statements are only found among cultic organizations. The country his heading in the wrong direction. Our political leaders need to lead viable political parties if we want peace in the country. We saw what happened at the NEC; during the hearings of the ALP and UP vs LP-Musa Hassan Bility and ANC, as these sessions were conducted at the NEC. The same during the LP-Bility vs. LP-Lawrence hearing was conducted at the NEC. We have seen what the CDC Youth Group is doing in Lofa. If we do not fistulize these political parties before the 2023 elections, we will be heading for the destruction of the country. Is this what we want?
Most people’s Blind Loyalty is a fallacy because it is an action. For them, their argument is right because a respected leader or parent, adult or boss, commanding officer, etc. says it is right. Blind Loyalty often leads a person to practice Situational Ethics. The term Situational Ethics refers to a behavior that causes a person to dump absolute moral standards to justify bad behavior for an alleged greater good. Those who practice Situational Ethics believe that the end justifies the means. For them, it is acceptable to lie, cheat, steal and kill a person for a greater good (position in government). When a person assumes Blind Loyalty and practices Situational Ethics, the behavior of that person can be predictable. And most politicians love such people or groups. Most often these people or groups are enticed by inducements of money/cash.
Blind Loyalty has been practiced in Liberia since 1955, after the FAKE Assassination attempt on President Tubman; read the “Pilot That Failed”. But it got alarming during the administration of Samuel K. Doe after the Thomas Quiwonkpa invasion. It even got worse during the Liberian Civil Crisis which started on December 24, 1989. And some levels of Blind Loyalty were found in Madam Sirleaf’s Administration. The J. Brownie Samukai’s case is a good example. Samukai was very loyal to Madam Sirleaf, but what did she do to him? She prosecuted him because of his support for Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s Presidential ambition which she did not support. She equally did the same with G. Varney Sherman for the same reason. The Samukai and Sherman cases should be lessons for all Liberians serving in government. You will be used and dumped later by those you gave Blind Loyalty to.
Blind Loyalty is even more pronounced under the Weah Administration than any administration before his. For example, we hear Ministers say that President Weah is the greatest Liberian President ever. What is their evidence? They do not give any evidence for such a statement. For example, when Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu was a guest on University Hour, a program that was once hosted by the late Dr. Amos C. Sawyer on ELTV in late 1978, he once asked Dr. Guannu to identify three great Presidents of Liberia. In response to the question, Dr. Guannu said the following:
- Joseph Jenkins Roberts because he held the new Negro Republic together with all the challenges that were faced by the country. He proved to the world community that the Negro’s Rece had the capacity and ability to manage a government.
- Edwin James Barclay because in 1929, when the Christie Commission recommended to the League of National that Liberia be a protectorate of either France, Great Britain, or Portugal, Barclay rejected the recommendations and justified why Liberia should not. The League of Nations accepted the justifications and Liberia was never a protectorate. Barclay saved the sovereignty of the country.
- William V.S. Tubman because of his Unification and Open-Door Policies. For the first time, Liberians began to see other Liberians as members of the same State under the Unification Policy and the Open Door Policy which attracted foreign investment into the country (Liberian Mining Company-LMC in Bomi Hill, National Iron Ore Company-NIOC- Mano River, Bong Mines Company-Bong County, LAMCO JVC in Nimba, Cavalla Rubber Company in Maryland, and the Sugar Company in Maryland. He also encouraged many Liberians to go into the private sector, Mesurado Fishing Company, Parker Paint Factory, Morris Rubber Farm in present day Margibi County, Sangai Poultry Farm in Bong County, etc. Tubman Modernized Liberia.
When Dr. Guannu’s program ended, I was disappointed because he did not name President Tolbert as one of the three. He later gave the reason. He said the true value of a president is assessed when he leaves the Presidency, not when he is still President, because he might do something that might erase all his great achievements. What reasons can the current Ministers give for Weah being the greatest of Liberia? Maybe we need to ask Dr. Guannu this question (Is Weah truly the Greatest President of Liberia?). You can best answer this question.
It can’t be the construction of the New Redemption Hospital in Caldwell because this was started under the Sirleaf Administration in 2010; the design was completed, and groundbreaking was done. I was there. It cannot be the LPRC Office Complex because this was completed 75% during the Sirleaf Administration. It cannot be the Japanese Freeway because phase one was completed under Madam Sirleaf’s Administration and phase two started immediately before Weah’s Inauguration. It cannot be the Saniquelle-Yekepa Road Pavement because the bid was opened in 2016 and the contract awarded in late 2016 or early 2017. It cannot be the Harper -Fishtown Road Pavement because phase one was completed during the Sirleaf Administration and phase two (Fishtown-Kenwaken) was negotiated and awarded before 2018. It cannot be the Johnsonville Dry Rice Road pavement, because the funding and design were completed during Sirleaf’s Administration. It cannot be the expansion of the RIA Road because the design and alignment were completed during Sirleaf’s Administration long before Kofi Woods was appointed Minister of Public Works. This was done during the administration of Minister Luseni Donzo. It cannot be the upcoming overhead bridges at the Ministerial Complex and ELWA Junction because these were negotiated and agreed during the Sirleaf Administration. It cannot be the Gbranga – Salayea Road Pavement because we all know that the contract was awarded, and groundbreaking was done before Weah was inducted. And Phase two, Salayea – Konia funding was identified and allocated during Sirleaf’s Administration. It cannot be the Act creating the Road Fund because this was passed in 2016, and when Sirleaf’s Administration ended, the fund account had approximately US$25,000,000.00. I know this because I was a member of the Steering Committee of the fund. It cannot be the diagnosis machine because this machine was donated by Lion Club International and the Lion Club of Liberia six years before Weah’s Administration. He must, however, be applauded for funding the installation.
Is it the 14 Military Hospital or the Invincible Sport Park or the Solar Lights in selected cities, many of which stopped functioning after three months, or the payment of the WAEC Fees or Free Tuition at Public Community Colleges and universities where classrooms are not environmentally healthy, no libraries, textbooks, laboratories, and qualified teachers? These we see from the performances of the students in the WAEC Examinations, which have declined from 52% in 2017 to 25% in 2021. Yet the Ministers tell the President he is doing very well. This reminds me of the story I read in Elementary School “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. When the new clothes were presented to the emperor, he got dressed in his new clothes, but it made him naked. All the advisors and servants said he was great in his new clothes. It took a crazy man to tell the emperor that he was naked. And truly, when the emperor took a second look, he observed that he was naked. A leader must have the capacity to discern who is telling him the truth and those who are lying. But to be able to do that, the leader must be knowledgeable about the history of his country, the world at large and as well as study the contributions of leaders before him. Otherwise, he falls for the lies he has fed him and his false achievements. According to these Ministers, Liberia has reached its Pax Romana. This is a Roman expression used during the reign of Constantine, one of the greatest Emperors of the Roman Empire, who relocated the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinople.
Maybe President Weah is the greatest president because of the ETON and EBOMAF Loan Agreement signed in July 2018. During the debate at the Legislature for the ratification of these Loans, a lawmaker from the Southeast commented as follows: “Even if we have to go to the Devil, we will do so to develop the country.” Of course, they went to the devil. And the president, during signing into law of the Loan Agreements into law said: “It is my desire and pledge that at the end of my tenure, I shall have connected all fifteen counties with paved roads. This is my focus; this shall be my legacy and my footpath after my tenure.” Did the president mean his second term? The second term is in the future; he may win or not win. President Weah has approximately 18 months in his first term and the pavement of the roads connecting all fifteen county’s capitals have not started because the ETON and EBOMAF Loan Agreements, which should have started the work were later revoked by the Legislature two years after they were ratified because ETON and EBOMAF failed to meet their obligations. Does the president know how long it takes to do feasibility study and design for roads before preparation of Bill of Quantities? Does he know how long it takes for tendering, before going to evaluation and awarding? Those who wrote that speech in which he said that all roads connecting county’s’ capitals would be paved during the signing of the agreements were not engineers and have no knowledge of road construction. The ETON and EBOMAF loans were worse than the 66 of the 68 concession agreements that our partners said did not meet international standards. By the way, who should be blamed the most for the 66 agreements that did not meet international standards, the Executive or the 103 legislators, 206 eyes that reviewed them?
What happened to the Bali Island Project? Is it in progress?
Liberia Democracy is at Risk
Liberia Democracy is at Risk if we continue the path of Blind Loyalty, falsehood/lies and deception. We must be able to look in the leaders’ eyes and say this action is wrong, it does not help the country. If your child brings a report card from school and you the parent reviewed the report card and you see that the child’s average is 60 and he or she is in 20th place in the class of 25 and you tell the child that he or she did very well, you are fooling the child. This is what your ministers are doing to the president.
Minister Tweah Assertion “Our partners are satisfied with the government’s performance”
On Friday, June 1, 2022, the CDC Women had a program at the party headquarters and the Finance, Planning and Development said, “The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other development partners are satisfied with the performance of the government.” But let us make references to statements from these partners:
- The Charge d’ Affairs of the United States of America near Monrovia said “US Government is Unhappy with the government and cited the lack of the political will to tackle the menace of CORRUPTION. Read June 28, 2022, Heritage.
- The US Ambassador near Monrovia said the Judiciary is corrupt.
- The European Union Representative said the city of Monrovia is the filthiest city in West Africa.
- On March 15, 2022, the US Ambassador said “I ramble what Joseph Jenkin Roberts will say if he were to visit Liberia today, where there is injustice, insecurity, poor healthcare, education is a mess, corruption at the highest, social services (energy, water, sanitation, telecommunication, etc.) at their lowest
- On June 22, 2022, Heritage carried a story “Finance Minister Tweah’s claim refuted. Liberia’s Development Partners did not back the government. The United States of America, through its Embassy near Monrovia, has removed one bold step beyond distancing itself from an earlier claim by Finance Minister Tweah that the gleaning of millions of dollars from the National Road Fund ‘to pay salaries” met the backing of the and consent of Liberia’s development partners. The US Embassy condemned in skiving tone the lawless act of misapplication and misapplying the road fund.
Are these statements above made by the partners infer that these partners are satisfied with the government performance? Maybe the minister is living on Jupiter, where these statements mean satisfaction of performance.
Why are we fooling ourselves? If you want to do better, you must acknowledge your failure first and you will be able to strategize for better performance. We know that our security is poor, education is a mess, health care is poor, agriculture productivity is low, sport is at the lowest level under the Weah’s Administration. We all had hoped that sport, particularly football would be adequately funded under the administration of President Weah because he is a football Icon. He was the first African to win African Best, World Best and European Best all in the same year. But since the ascendancy to the presidency, the Ministry of Youth and Sport Budget has been the lowest in the country’s history. Where is the president’s priority? The Lone Star, the country’s national team, has not played a home game in Liberia because of the condition of the playing pit. This speaks volume of the Weah’s Presidency. If you do not leave a legacy in football, what will we tell our children and grandchildren after your term ends? What will we tell them was your legacy Mr. President?